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Quick answer
"Foco" is a noun which is often translated as "spotlight", and "bombilla" is a noun which is often translated as "bulb". Learn more about the difference between "foco" and "bombilla" below.
foco(
foh
-
koh
)
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
1. (light source)
a. spotlight (on a stage)
El protagonista hacía su monólogo bajo el foco.The main character delivered his monologue under the spotlight.
b. floodlight (for a large area)
El monumento está iluminado por 18 focos.The monument is illuminated by 18 floodlights.
c. headlight (of a car)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
El conductor apagó los focos para que no lo detectaran.The driver turned out the headlights to avoid being detected.
2. (photography, optics)
a. focus
Mi cara está fuera de foco en la foto.My face is out of focus in the photo.
3. (geometry)
a. focus
Todas las elipses tienen dos focos.All ellipses have two foci.
4. (nucleus)
a. focus
El foco de mi investigación son las redes sociales.The focus of my research is social media.
b. focal point
La guerra en Oriente Medio era el foco de nuestra discusión.The war in the Middle East was the focal point of our discussion.
c. center
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
China es uno de los principales focos industriales del mundo.China is one of the main industrial centers of the world.
d. centre (United Kingdom)
Es la tendencia dominante en los focos culturales más importantes de Europa.It's the dominant trend in the most important cultural centres of Europe.
e. source (of a conflict, problem, infection)
El petróleo y el agua potable serán focos de conflicto en el futuro cercano.Oil and drinkable water will be a source of conflict in the near future.
f. seat (of a fire)
Los bomberos están tratando de llegar al foco del incendio.The firefighters are trying to get to the seat of the fire.
5. (electric bulb)
Regionalism used in Latin America: all the countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Does not include Spain.
(Latin America)
a. light bulb
Tengo que cambiar el foco de la cocina.I need to change the light bulb in the kitchen.
6. (lamp)
Regionalism used in Central America: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama
(Central America)
a. flashlight
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
Compré velas por si se rompe el foco.I bought candles in case the flashlight breaks.
b. torch (United Kingdom)
No encuentro pilas para el foco.I can't find batteries for the torch.
7. (public lighting)
Regionalism used in the Caribbean: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico
(Caribbean)
a. streetlight
Es una calle sin focos.It's a road with no streetlights.
b. lamppost
Chocaron con un foco.They crashed into a lamppost.
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bombilla(
bohm
-
bee
-
yah
)
A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
1. (electricity)
a. bulb
¿Cuántas bombillas lleva cada plafón?How many bulbs go in each fixture?
b. light bulb
Se fundió una bombilla.A light bulb burned out.
2. (straw)
a. tube for drinking mate
La bombilla tiene un filtro en la base para que no tragues las hojas.The tube for drinking mate has a filter on the base so you don't swallow the leaves.
b. bombilla
Mira la bombilla que compré cuando fui a Argentina.Look at the bombilla I bought when I went to Argentina.
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